Address at Ordination

Rev Mario’s Address at the
Ordination of Pastor Colin Read
15th September 1974

It is a rare and very happy occasion to ordain someone who is near to us, to the ministry of Christ and his church. Before we proceed with the actual ritual of Ordination, may I explain to you what it means to the Ordinand, and to us who participate in this great occasion.

Ordination is not granted because you have studied or because you may have certain gifts. It is not the intellect that counts, nor the feelings, but the person who knows that this is the path he or she must follow.

In days gone by we spoke of a ‘Call to the Ministry’. This is still true, in a specific sense. God calls you to be a minister for his kingdom. God calls you to be his representative, God calls you to heal, to bind up, to proclaim, to administer, to teach, and to bring hope and faith to the hearts of those who need the consolation of God's great love and reconciling grace.

It is on these grounds that we are ordaining Colin Read. Not because he is such a bright young man, he is, not because he has studied, he hasn't, not because he is my personal friend, not because he has given so much of his talents and time to The Centre, and in fact built it with me, but because God calls him, and he has no option but to obey that call.

He is not ordained in the ministry of the Congregational Church. They did not take his application serious when he approached them some years ago. We as a church here will not go into union with the Methodists and Presbyterians on the grounds that we cannot bind ourselves to certain creeds and dogmas which are expected from those churches and individuals when they join the United Church.

The Ordination which we are about to perform is, therefore, a deep spiritual and mystical experience. We initiate a person because he has been called, and because he deeply and sincerely wants it. He becomes a minister of Christ not of a specific church or sect. His ministry will be in the widest and greatest sense possible, without the usual limitations associated with creedal churches and sects.

His priesthood will be according to the Order of Melchizedek.

The story of Melchizedek is an obscure story, and often not understood even by biblical scholars. It is the story of a man who claimed to be the high priest of Salem, when he met Abraham on the way. He demanded from Abraham a tenth of his spoil. Then we do not hear from him until later in the New Testament where it is told that he had neither father nor mother, and that Jesus was a priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.

To those who understand the deep significance of spiritual and mystical language and its symbology, it is clear that this man was only an apparition. He brought to light that there was a priesthood which cannot be brought into being by ordinary means. It is a priesthood which is begotten in heaven so to speak, and once you belong to that order you have to be a priest forever, as our Master Jesus Christ is a priest forever.

To be ordained into the Order of Melchizedek, therefore, is one of the most painful obligations a person can take upon himself. For it implies the continual sacrifice, the continual giving, the continual loving, that belongs to a priestly nature. But more is meant than that. For it also means that you shall be a priest forever, and forever means what it says: that in this life and in the lives to come, Colin shall be a priest - in different ways, in different forms, with different characteristics, but nevertheless a priest, ministering to the needs of mankind.

The Order of Melchizedek is therefore no earthly organization; it has no hierarchy in this world. It is heavenly, spiritual, and therefore silently more effective.

To be called to this Order, and to respond to this call, is a matter of deep personal responsibility which requires a deep sense of integrity. For in this response you are accepting the burden of Christ, the tears of Christ, the pain of Christ. In this response you are bound forever to the reconciling ministry of man to God, and God to man.

One thing more, and I must close. You cannot offer yourself for this task. You are chosen. You are indeed called. You have no other way open to you but to accept and to live that life which was foreordained for you.

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